Perennially one of the best (and at times THE best) basketball players on the planet over the course of his 16-year career, LeBron James has made a huge impact on the younger generation of NBA players entering the league. Heading into his 17th season, James is still one of the league’s deadliest weapons and coming off an injury-plagued year where he averaged 27/8/8, showed he still has plenty of gas left in the tank to dominate.
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Lakers’ LeBron James Wins ‘Favorite Player’ in NBA Rookie Survey
It should come as no surprise that in the NBA Rookie Survey, James clocked in as the overwhelming winner in the ‘Favorite Player’ category with 38% of the vote. James nearly doubled what his closest competitor – Kevin Durant – while no other player received more than 8% of the vote.
Since the inception of the survey, only three players have ever won the award – LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Durant. While Bryant and Durant each have three seasons to their name, James’ win in 2019 puts him alone as the player to win the most NBA Rookie Survey ‘Favorite Player’ awards with four.
With more and more players coming into the league who grew up watching James’ greatness from an extremely young age, don’t be surprised to see James pad his lead a bit more over the coming years.
LeBron James Set to Have Much More Help in 2019-2020
Despite the Lakers being loaded with exciting young talent last season, that talent didn’t fit too well around James. With Lonzo Ball playing best as the primary facilitator, Brandon Ingram forced out of position, and Josh Hart relegated to a ‘3 and D’ role, only Kyle Kuzma seemed to have natural chemistry alongside LeBron. With Ball, Ingram, and Hart now all traded to the Pelicans and a fresh crop of free agents filling out the rest of the team, the Lakers look to offer a much better build to suit James’ talents.
Filled with floor-spacing shooters, the Lakers did an excellent job at stocking their team with players who can consistently knock down the deep ball. The team struggled mightily from range last year which allowed opposing teams to cheat down towards the paint and contest shots at the rim. With the increased spacing, James and his new running mate Anthony Davis should have plenty of room to operate near the rim while having the peace of mind that their man is more likely to knock down the open look if they’re forced to kick out of a double team.
While big man DeMarcus Cousins suffered an incredibly unfortunate knee injury that should force him out for the year, JaVale McGee showed to be a strong fit next to LeBron last season and should do just fine stepping up into a starting role once again. The Lakers do need to find themselves a reliable backup big man from the scrap heap that is the free agency pool, though there look to be some crafty veterans that could fit their system and give a solid 10-15 minutes per night off the bench.